Care and Storage of Measurement Instruments

Even if you have the best measuring instruments it would be next to useless if you cannot rely on them to give accurate results. A key element is to take care of the instruments, although they are quite rugged, they need careful handling. If you maintain a high level of reliability and accuracy of your calipers, micrometers, dial gages, and block gages you must know exactly how to care for and store these precision devices.


How to Properly Handle Measuring Instruments

You should try to protect these tools from rough handling and damage by following some simple rules so that you always get correct measurement readings. You should never drop them to the ground, throw them on a hard surface, give them a sudden shock or use them to tap or bang on some other object.

A good way to protect them is to lay a rubber mat on your workbench. Once they are out of your hand, place them on the mat. This will avoid them getting nicks or scratches and protect them from damage. Just never use these devices as a hammer to bang on or use it as a screwdriver to pry out any object.

Avoid leaving them out in the hot sun in extreme temperatures or leaving them overnight outside in freezing weather. Expansion and contraction due to temperature variations can affect the calibration of the instrument, and that is why you always try to keep them in the normal room temperature range. Even keeping them in hand for a long time is not advisable as they may pick up heat or moisture from your hand.

These measuring instruments should not be subjected to continuous vibrations for a long time as this again may disturb their calibration.


I’m just a Check the Calipers for Dirt and Grime

Before measuring any object, check for any dust and grime and clean the surfaces with a soft cloth.  After use, you should check if there is any undesirable debris left on the device’s surface and if found, clean it.


Check for Wear and Tear

Always inspect your device for wear and tear and scratches before use. The accuracy of the calipers or micrometer is dependent on the flatness and parallelism of the surfaces that come into contact with the object that is being measured. As the surfaces of the devices wear with age, their accuracy diminishes.


Lubricate Instruments Appropriately to Prevent Corrosion

Proper lubrication of measuring devices will minimize damage due to oxidation and corrosion. After using these devices they may be lightly oiled after use, and any extra oil should be wiped off. If some oil remains on the surface of the device then it will attract dust and grime and will cause friction between moving parts of the device.

Never use penetrating oils or other compounds that leave a film on the metal surface as this will change the calibration of the device.  Even the thinnest layer of such a compound can reduce the accuracy of the measuring devices, such as calipers and micrometers.


Store Instruments in an Appropriate Environment

Make sure that the storage location for the devices is well-protected from poor environmental conditions. It should be humid or have extreme temperatures. Do not store these precision instruments where they can rub against each other. Never stack these devices on top of each other. They should be stored in padded boxes meant for this purpose.

If there is noticeable vibration where you work, then store these devices far away from this area without vibration otherwise these devices will slowly get out of calibration.

Dampness, if present can be removed by placing silica gel packets in their storage boxes. It is best if these devices are stored in a temperature-controlled environment. However, if air conditioning is not available then a dehumidifier may be used to ensure dryness in the storage room. Also, ensure that the calipers are stored with their jaws closed and no dirt is present on the measurement surfaces.



The temperature has a significant impact on measurement results. Precise measurement of workpieces should be ideally carried out with the ambient temperature being around 70°F. If it is not possible to work in such conditions you can minimize the error by having the object and measuring device remain in the same ambient conditions for some time.  These devices measuring devices should not be left outdoor in direct sunshine or any other heat source as they lose their accuracy in high ambient temperatures.


Avoid Magnets

These precision measuring devices should never be placed around any strong magnetic material otherwise they may be magnetized themselves and give wrong readings.



Make sure that the devices are calibrated at least once a year. Some measuring instruments require even more frequent recalibration depending on their usage. Get these devices calibrated from a professional laboratory such as e2b Calibration that is qualified to perform such calibration. This will ensure that your devices are in good condition to provide accurate results.

All steel measuring instruments are precision devices and should be cared for during use and when stored after use. They should be regularly inspected, cleaned, and lubricated where necessary. Contact e2b calibration for more information. We provide reliable and cost-effective calibration services for all types of gages and measuring devices.  Our verifiable and traceable services are unmatched in the industry.  We are ISO-17025: 2017 compliant and registered with ANAB. We are also ANSI/NCSL Z540-1-1994 certified. We are NIST Traceable Wide scope of ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation.



Poor calibration services could be more than just an inconvenience.